Friday, February 13, 2009

Terminator, "The Good Wound": Reese's pieces

Spoilers for the return of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" coming up just as soon as I examine my joints...

Sigh... they were really on a nice run there for a while in the late fall, starting around the time of "The Tower Is Tall But the Fall Is Short." But between the aimless last few episodes in December, the long hiatus and now a mostly forgettable return episode, I'm having a hard time remembering how excited I briefly felt about this show.

I understand that Sarah's name is in the title, and that the last episode left off with her getting shot, but I really didn't want to spend most of our first hour back in this world watching Lena Headey and the writers continue to struggle to make her interesting, while more compelling figures like Cameron and Derek got relegated to the sidelines. And as the ghostly version of Kyle Reese, Jonathan Jackson was as toothless an approximation of Michael Biehn in the first "Terminator" as Headey is of Linda Hamilton circa "T2."

Now, the subplot with Ellison, John Henry and Shirley Manson was entertaining, if only because Garret Dillahunt and Manson are so good at playing the inhuman sides of their characters. And Shirley's rampage through the warehouse(*) was bad-ass enough that I'll forgive her quoting of Bryan Adams' love theme from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" ("Everything I doooooo, I do it for yooooooooooou!!!!!").

(*) Once again, a character runs afoul of Weaver after going to the men's room. I smell a trend. Or maybe just a urinal.

But the series either needs to get moving in a specific plot direction or get back to doing those interesting psychological sketches of the stronger characters, or I might lose interest all together.

Also, in case you didn't read any accounts of McG's Comic-Con appearance to discuss the "Terminator: Salvation" film, one of the fans asked whether the new movie would incorporate any mythology from the TV show. He said they decided to keep the events of the film and TV franchises separate going forwards, since (to paraphrase) a TV show is an ever-evolving organism that can't really afford to get locked into decisions that are made in service of a two-hour film script. Of course, unless the ratings pick up (or stay stable) here on Friday nights, this may be a moot point.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, not a very exciting episode. Too little of Cameron who I find the most entertaining. And I am so tired of the Riley storyline along with Derrick's girlfriend. They both need to back to the future.

Anonymous said...

When will John Connor step up?
We keep hearing that John Connor is finally going to come into his own. And yet once again in this episode we have the charisma-challenged John. Here's my half-joking theory: maybe the original John Conner was someone like Christian Bale but when he sent his right hand "leftenant" (err, lieutenant) back in time to protect his mother the cad interfered with the original time line by siring an "unter-offspring" then named John. Might better explain why in T2, T3 and now in the series no matter how much Kharis the gods of light, sound and action pour over these John Connors they fail to inspire belief they could ever save humanity.

I'm taking bets: will we finally see an heroic, bad-ass JC first in series or do we need to wait for T4? -- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

Yeah, totally agree with you. I want them to get on with the story already.

The JC of T2 was a charming, slick, kid who learned to manipulate to get what he needed. This JC is sulking and unsure of himself, lacking charm.

The Riley storyline is boring and even if they intend to move it into an interesting direction, I just feel I don't really care anymore.

I know it's called the Sarah Connor Chronicles but I'm losing interest in her story. The SC of the movies didn't put up with a lot of crap and now they have her constantly questioning herself and looking like she's feeling sorry for herself. It's dull.

I don't think it's the actors' fault. The writers need to get to the story already.

Anonymous said...

if you want to see a heroic john connor u will see him this summer

hes 17 yrs old here

Anonymous said...

That guy playing Kyle Reese sucked. Every time he appeared it was a distraction. He just wasn't Kyle Reese. He didn't seem anything like Kyle Reese. It would have been a lot better with a stronger actor, although I have to say I think Sarah Connor as a character should, by this point, be beyond the need for encouragement from the ghost of her dead ex-boyfriend. She's been through a hell of a lot since the opening of T2. I don't think this was a necessity at all, but it would have worked a lot better if the actor remotely acted like Kyle Reese.

I guess I'm confused, but I don't really get why the T-1000 chick killed everyone at that factory. They really need to advance some plot points and at least give us some hints as to what her actual agenda is.

I think we need to see some more John Connor. This is what, season 3 or 2.5? Which are they going with? Regardless, enough time has passed that we need to see more of John stepping up to the plate, showing some more initiative and toughness, show some more hints at what he is going to become.

I think this series has a lot of potential. Some episodes are really good. They haven't completed dropped the ball like the Heroes writers, but they might. Hopefully it's not too late.

Also, am I the only one who has zero interest in Derek's girlfriend character or her story?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Kyle Reese used to have an adult beard?

I did like that they gave him the same outfit as the original movie, at least. Same shoes and everything.

Anonymous said...

Agreed; this series is losing me.

Enough already with the weird visions, and I'm ready for John's girlfriend to become absent, permanently. But the way John is written is the most irritating thing about the show. After all he's been through, both up to T2 and through a season and a half here, I'd expect a greater sense of maturity and acceptance of responsibility. Even from a kid his age. Instead he's petulant, obnoxious, and remarkably short-sighted.

Anonymous said...

Horrible miscast on Kyle Reese. It ruined the entire episode for me.

I hope the Kyle "ghost" won't be a regular occurrence. I kept thinking of Izzy and Dead Denny from Greys Anatomy.

Anonymous said...

The JC of T2 was a charming, slick, kid who learned to manipulate to get what he needed.
Hmmm, no accounting for taste of course. :) Unlike you I really didn't like that kid.

hes 17 yrs old here
Yeah, there is a problem as a viewer to keep in mind that the actor is older than the person he's portraying. On the other hand, plenty of 17 year olds are signing up for the military knowing full well they'll head into combat. Knowing you are to be the leader of man's resistance to the machines ought to focus the mind a little more.

Also, am I the only one who has zero interest in Derek's girlfriend character or her story?
Aside from her being hot? She is the only one who makes me hope the Riley story will become interesting at some distant point.

I like the series overall but sometimes wonder if maybe making JC a year or two older with a tougher styled actor would yield a more interesting character. I suspect they were targeting the teens and tweens market with the choices they made.

LeeZy said...

Sheesh... this show is beginning to deserve it's Friday timeslot...

If I wanted to watch a show about lame characters talking to dead people... I'd change the channel and watch 'Big Head' Love Hewitt...

Seriously... was I watching the wrong show?... Did I miss the premiere of Terminator tonight?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm confused, but I don't really get why the T-1000 chick killed everyone at that factory.

Yeah, it was a little confusing. I think it had something to do with the breach of the plant concomitant with the discussion of it occuring on an unsecured line. T-1000 needed total secrecy and so had to clean up everything. It's debatable whether a huge explosion would be the smartest way to go about covering your tracks, however.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

Aww, I kinda liked Jonathan Jackson (a.k.a. the one and only Lucky Spencer). And all the stuff with Weaver and John Henry. But the stuff with Sarah? Bleah. Can she die already so John can get lessons in manliness and combat from Derek?

Quantum said...

agreed pretty bad episode. i think the "character talks to important dead person in her life" thing should be retired from every tv show.

Riley (is that her name) the blonde girl is a bad actress, lame character, and john and her have NO chemistry, which may be because she sucks and the actor who plays john is rumored to be gay.

i absolutely love stephanie jacobsen,summer glau, and the shapeshifter corporate CEO-bot...more of them bplease.

Anonymous said...

How awsome would it have been if they'd cast Michelle Forbes as Sarah?

Terminator is a "watch while I'm also doing stuff on the computer" kind of show for me. This ep did not change that.

Anonymous said...

Ah... they're losing it. And I say that as someone who has loved the show.

The actor playing Kyle Reese was 10 years too young. They could have gotten Michale Biehn (who's 15 years too old) and that would have been much better. When Sarah and Ghost-Kid-Kyle kissed, I thought: "Eyuccch!".

The Catherine Weaver/John Henry/Ellison scenes, by contrast, were great. Especially Garrett Dillahunt. And Shirley's murder spree wasn't bad, either.

More of that kind of thing, and less distraction please, before the show goes the way of all Fox SF flesh (and metal)...

pgillan said...

The actor playing Kyle Reese was 10 years too young.

I was going to point out that she'd be remembering him as he was 15 years ago, so it would make sense that he'd be younger... however, I checked iMDB, and the actor that played Reese in the original movie was 28, and the kid in the show looked like he was about 19.

At the very least they could have found an actor who could grow a real beard.

As for Shirley Manson, she doesn't seem to be much of an actress, but it works since the character is a cold, robotic machine. What bugged me during thsi episode, though, was that self-satisfied little smirk she had when she was talking to John Henry about the talcum powder mining (or whatever). It was the standard "you-suspect-me-but-you-have-no-proof-and-you-never-will-and-I-think-that's-funny" face, and it made no sense in the context of two robots talking. But maybe I was reading too much into it; maybe that's just how her face is shaped.

Anonymous said...

So what the hell was all that with Connor Trinneer and the doctor? OK, they wanted us to see that he was abusive, I got that. But he walks in on a scary-looking guy and his ex-girlfriend (or whatever) holding guns on each other, and within 5 seconds he's calling her a crazy bitch and threatening to shoot her? Even within what they were trying to do that makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I am with you DonBoy, I really didn't follow the dr./cop story, what was supposed to be the deal?

Mica said...

Jonathan Jackson is 26, almost 27, so he's the right age to be Kyle Reese.
I had problems with him before (he's to boyish to be Kyle), but I liked the guy on this episode. Actually I think this is one of the few episode I kinda liked Sarah. I really hate Lena Headey as Sarah Connor.
Definitely the best part was the machines part (even though I hate Ellison. He's too boring...and Dillahunt is the worst actor ever).
Cameron appeared too little (and she's always the best) and I want to understand why Riley tried to kill herself.
I'm still waiting for John to grow up. It's taking too long (and I'm being very patient).
I agree with DonBoy. I can't understand why they did that thing between the doctor and the deputy. He was being decent until that part. It was strange. Didn't like it.
But I enjoyed the episode. I can't understand why people didn't.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find Derek’s girlfriend incredibly irritating? She makes me want to reach into the screen and slap her face.

Anonymous said...

I want to understand why Riley tried to kill herself

She was trying to fulfill her mission, which is to get John away from Cameron.

K J Gillenwater said...

I love this ep, I am in the same boat wondering why everyone else hated it so, beyond the fact that they couldn't return Michael Biehn to how he looked 25 years ago and use him as Kyle Reese. LOL.

I LOVED the way the 'new' Kyle showed how hurt he was over Sarah's injuries and how tough her life had been since he died. Loved the reveal that Kyle was John's father when Derrick showed up at the hospital. Loved the creepy John Henry and how he's developing and Shirley Manson's rampage through the warehouse.

I thought it *did* move the story forward quite a information reveals. Maybe not super-actiony...but still kept me thinking. And looking forward to next week. I'll just have to enjoy it while it's around, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I love this ep, I am in the same boat wondering why everyone else hated it

Personally, I didn't hate the episode. But it did seem a mystery as to how Sarah got out of the dire situation she was at the mid-season break and suddenly appeared in a hospital. Maybe I missed something or that's yet to be explained. And then suddenly she's having this extended head-Kyle conversation out of nowhere so that was a bit mysterious as well. And then there's the sense that the Kyle figure wasn't well cast (it didn't bother me that much). For me the most important issue was my wish that I could finally see John Conner come into his own. We see moments of it, one step forward, and then next episode or even next scene it's two steps back to behaving like the average teen-angst kid. The premise of the whole frachise is that John Connor is someone with a destiny, a heroic figure who's unique and special, and that's why he has a target on his back. I suspect many in the audience want to start seeing why & how he's special.

Perhaps coming out of the break having JC take the initiative to rescue Sarah would have been a stronger stride forward. Anyway, I hope there's a reason for the different choices the writers and producers made, and I'll be pleasantly surprised to find out what these are in the coming episodes.
-- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

You nailed it Alan. I am surprised they decided to kick off "Sci-Fi Fridays", back from hiatus, with a lot of mopey Sarah and, worse, almost no Cameron. While I like Lena, Sarah is by far the least interesting character on the show and they need to start focusing on John and Cameron more.

K J Gillenwater said...

Personally, I could enjoy a whole show about Derrick Reese. Sigh....

tabernacle said...

(That was a (bad) coincidence, right? That the doctor's abuser husband happened to be the cop on the case?)

I did enjoy Derek Reese's badass move of hanging up on Sarah when she was about to get all deathbed bequest on him. It could even have been a kindness.

I appreciated the urinal fakeout. More Summer Glau, please, less LH/Sarah Connor.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Don't talk about an episode I haven't blogged about yet. 9 times out of 10, if I haven't written about something, it's because I haven't watched it yet. Show some patience.

tabernacle said...

Exactly. How many times does our man have to say this? Please. It's not that complicated.

Anonymous said...

My apologies. I'm new here and did not know the rule. And yes, inna allaha ma`a al sabireen. (God is with the patient ones)